Sure, Oregon looks bucolic. Probably about as bucolic as that asp in Cleopatra's basket of figs before it had its way with her.
That may explain this recent notice from the State Department.
"The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling in Oregon due to threats to safety and security posed by Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) in the state. U.S. citizens have been the target of violent crimes, such as kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery by TCOs in various Oregon counties. For information on security conditions in specific regions of Oregon, which can vary, travelers should reference the county-by-county assessments further below."
And why the warning? Just look at the newspaper stories in my former state.
- Three men assassinated in Salem on one weekend by suspected members of a drug cartel.
- Three masked and armed men burst into an Oregon City home, tied up the resident, and stole his property -- in this case, almost two pounds of legally grown medical marijuana.
- Five armed men wearing masks and gloves burst into an Eagle Creek home and ransacked it after using plastic ties to restrain the homeowner, his granddaughter, and her two teenage sons.
Well, of course, there is no State Department warning about Oregon. John Kerry would never commit a political faux pas that grand.
The warning is the State Department's warning about Mexico -- only slightly edited. And it makes no more sense than warning travelers away from Oregon -- on much the same evidence. Maybe less.
But I have beat this dead caballo far too often. It is like global warming. People have their positions on both sides -- and neither side is interested in facts.
So, as I drive to Salem this morning, I will be on the lookout for the representatives of TCOs lurking in the tules.
These are the ends to which Mexpatriate is driven to satisfy enquiring minds.
Note: The photograph was snapped by my new HTC One M8 telephone. Not bad for a telephone camera. We can talk about that in a later post, though.